Tuesday, 18 January 2011

What’s in a date?

January the 18th or the 18th of January. However you write it, it is significant. It was on this date in 1990 that Spiderman and I arrived in England, fresh faced and eager, to begin our semester abroad as part of the LC/MC overseas programme. Within a month we would be engaged and by the time our semester was over in April we both knew that England felt like home.

We were lucky enough to have attended a college where there was an overseas study programme. We were lucky to have signed up individually before we started dating and extremely lucky to have both been chosen to go together. There was so much to DO. Lectures by the best English teacher Dr Connie Douglas and science with Dr Snaz. (both American)  There was art with “Gallery” Warren (real name Valerie), drama with Jean Elliot and culture with Peter Buckroyd (all British)

Every  Monday we went to a different art museum for a tour and lecture. It is one thing to see photographs or slides of great paintings, but to see them in person--is an experience that moves your soul. 3-4 times a week we went to the Theatre to see plays. Some at high class places like the National and some Fringe theatre in pubs. But all amazing in their own way--including the WORST production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest we have ever seen and still laugh about today. We even had a famous, but rather prickly, playwright Howard Barker and dishy actor Richard McCabe (fresh from playing Puck in a fantastic Midsummer Night’s Dream) come and speak to our class! Learning about culture and current events and British slang was great. It was all so good. We soaked it up, every last drop.

Living in Louisiana I often felt out of place. Like some sort of rainforest flower stuck in Dry Gulch. Being in England was like feeling the rain for the first time. Spiderman and I knew that someday we would return. England just felt like home.

And interestingly enough, this day is also significant in that one year ago today we were given “indefinite leave to remain” after passing the written Life in the UK exam and paying the first of 2 eye wateringly high fees. It is now a year later and we are eligible to proceed toward the claim of citizenship. There are forms to fill out, documents to locate and referees to ask (people to be a reference not people to run up and down the field blowing a whistle) The forms are the worst bit. All those write -in- all- caps- one -letter -per -box instructions give me the heebie jeebies. It’s like I get some sort of written Tourette’s Syndrome.


It’s like when I go to unplug the toaster, but right in the next socket is the washing machine plug. I have this terrible irrational fear I will somehow unplug the wrong one. I feel like that even though I am saying, “Toaster, toaster, TOASTER!!!!!” my hand will wilfully just unplug the washing machine plug while I, in slow motion, holler Noooooooooooooooooooooooo!  Anyone else like that? Just me then.

But yes, today marks a special day--the day we first arrived and the day that I hope will begin the process to seal our fate and allow us to stay in the country that is our home.

Now where did I put my pen?

1 comment:

  1. Happy anniversary! What great memories of the year you went to St. Margaret's to stay for 4 months and found your soulmate country! When I finally saw St. Margaret's and London, so much of it was nothing like I had visualized in my mind. Meeting Mrs. Marazi was an incredible experience.........the first of many happy reunions.

    Happy, happy day to you both! Keep calm and carry on. :-)